The Boston University softball team returned back to Boston Sunday night after taking three of four games in South Carolina to kick off its 2014 season. The University of South Carolina hosted the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C., in which the Terriers (3-1) won three games in a row after losing the first contest.
In the opening game, BU took on host team South Carolina (10-2). In a pitchers’ duel, defensive miscues ended up costing the Terriers the game, leading to both of the Gamecocks’ runs and a 2-0 final score.
Sophomore pitcher Melanie Russell held the Gamecocks to three hits, struck out three, walked one and gave up no earned runs in six innings of work. Redshirt junior Julia Sarratt took the mound for the Gamecocks, striking out 10 BU hitters and allowed only one hit over five innings.
Scoreless until the fourth, the Gamecocks finally reached the plate courtesy of an RBI single from freshman Victoria Williams. They followed up in the fifth with a triple from senior Codee Yeske, who then scored on a fielding error by BU senior right fielder Jayme Mask.
“It could’ve easily been a 1-0 game,” said BU coach Kathryn Gleason, “But we had great composure and a lot of fight.”
After dropping the opener, the Terriers faced Michigan State University in the first of two games Saturday. The Terriers struck first, and quickly, against the Spartans (4-7), plating one in the top of the first on an RBI double from junior left fielder Mandy Fernandez.
Michigan State countered quickly in the bottom of the second with three runs starting with an RBI sacrifice bunt from Spartan sophomore Jacquie Reiser, who later scored in the inning. Michigan State would go on to add another run off of sophomore pitcher Lauren Hynes in the third.
From this point it was all Terriers. With Russell replacing Hynes in the third, BU scored in each of the following innings, culminating with a six-run pummeling in the top of the seventh. With the offensive support, Russell was able to notch her first win of the season.
“I was so impressed with Melanie this weekend,” Gleason said. “Being able to fight through against South Carolina, and able to hold tough on the next day, she did a tremendous job. When she’s on the mound she brings a sense of energy and calmness.”
For the night cap Saturday, BU faced off against Gardner-Webb University. The Terriers sent freshman pitcher Makinna Akers to face off against Gardner-Webb (5-9) senior Jessica Childers.
BU was able to continue its offensive dominance throughout the night, scoring four runs in their shutout of the Runnin’ Bulldogs, with two RBI from senior catcher Amy Ekart.
After the bats performed well in the tournament, Gleason said she has confidence in the entirety of her lineup.
“I definitely think we know what type of team we can be offensively,” Gleason said. “Everyone contributed up and down the lineup.”
The team wrapped up the weekend Sunday with a matchup against Georgetown University. The Hoyas (3-5) came into the game struggling, and the momentum was clearly on BU’s side. With the loss handed to them by the Terriers, Georgetown has lost five of its last seven games.
Russell took the mound yet again, striking out eight and allowing three runs over 6.1 innings pitched. On the offensive side, the Terriers’ bats were too much for Georgetown, as they scored six runs, with the biggest blow in the form of a two-RBI triple from freshman third baseman Moriah Connolly. Despite a small rally by the Hoyas in the seventh inning, Hynes came in and shut the door on the 6-3 victory.
“It feels good,” Gleason said of returning home with a winning record. “We played as a team and everyone contributed up-and-down the lineup. It was nice to get out there playing on the dirt. It’s a good feeling.”